Connecticut ex-death row inmate Robert Courchesne dies

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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Connecticut murder convict Robert Courchesne, who had a death sentence overturned by the state Supreme Court, collapsed in prison yesterday. He died in hospital an hour later.

File photo of Newton, Connecticut. Courchesne was imprisoned at the town's prison.
Image: John Phelan.

Courchesne, now 57, stabbed heavily pregnant Demetris Rodgers to death in 1998. In 2004 he was convicted of her murder and that of her unborn baby, delivered minutes after the murder by cesarean section. Baby Antonia Rodgers spent over a month on life support before death was confirmed. Using legislation that provided the death penalty to multiple murderers the court sentenced Courchesne to death.

Courchesne reached the Connecticut Supreme Court in 2010 and had the Antonia murder conviction overturned. The court ruled it was not proved the baby was alive at the time of the cesarean delivery. The death penalty was substituted with a 60-year sentence which prosecutors accepted instead of opting for a retrial.

Yesterday's death at Danbury Hospital is being probed by police and prison officials, but is not considered suspicious. Courchesne collapsed while walking in the Garner Correctional Center, Newtown at around 10:35 a.m. local time.

Connecticut abolished the death penalty in 2012, but those already on death row remained sentenced to die.